Racial Equality

50 Years Since MLK Assassination, And In Many Ways, Not Much Progress In Race Relations In America

It has been 50 years since the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

His death ended the most active and accomplished period of the civil rights movement, which occurred during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson.

No one ever came forth with the charisma and following of Dr. King, to succeed him.

As we look back a half century, we can say that the African American community saw great advances in education and attainment of the middle class by a growing percentage of their population.

We also saw political gains by the African American community, including what many thought was the most triumphant moment of all–the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

But looking back now, one can say that the Obama election brought the truth out of the ugly woodwork–that racism is still very much alive and thriving, and not just in the South, but nationwide.

We see young and middle age African American boys and men, in particular, being victimized by police across the nation at alarming rates, and a large percentage who are not killed being subjected to unequal justice and long periods in prison.

The violence in the cities is over the top, and yet nothing has been done to overcome the danger of growing up in an environment where those who just wish to advance themselves out of poverty are often the victims of people of the same color.

The dream of Dr. King that everyone would be judged by the content of their character, rather than their skin color, has not been fulfilled, and we have a long road toward true racial equality in all areas of life, including economic advancement, which was badly damaged by the Great Recession, more for African Americans than for the working class whites, who are still appealed to by right wingers and Donald Trump to see African Americans as the enemy.

The Republican Party At The End Of 2017: Bereft Of All Principle, Common Decency, And Concern For The American People Who Are Not Wealthy And Privileged

Here we are on Christmas Day, and we would like to have the Christmas spirit far and wide in America.

But we cannot have that spirit, as the governing Republican Party at the end of 2017 is a shell of its old self.

The Republican Party today is not the party of Abraham Lincoln, William Seward, Thaddeus Stevens, and Charles Sumner. It is not the party of civil rights and racial equality.

The Republican Party today is not the party of Theodore Rooevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr., George Norris, and Charles Evans Hughes. It is not the party of progressive reform, of regulation of corporations and promotion of the environment.

The Republican Party today is not the party of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, and Earl Warren. It is not the party of world leadership and moderate domestic reform.

The Republican Party today is not the party of Gerald Ford, Charles Percy, Mark Hatfield, and Charles Mathias. It is not the party of bipartisan domestic and foreign policy.

Instead, the Republican Party is now the worst elements imaginable, bereft of all principle, common decency, and concern for the American people who are not wealthy and privileged.

It is an evil party, which has committed massive crimes against the American people and the world community.

It is a party which has shown no concern about breaking up families; destroying people’s lives; and consorts with enemies of the American Constitution and democratic values.

It is a party which has set out to destroy all domestic tranquility and foreign stability, all in the lunatic and maniacal craziness to enrich themselves and exploit others.

It is a party which professes religiosity, but ignores the Judeo-Christian tradition of “good works”.

It is a party of hypocrisy and the promotion of lies.

It is a party of disgraceful, selfish, greedy men and women who have declared war on the long held traditions of their party, and their super nationalism, xenophobia, and fascist tendencies endanger all Americans of color, other religions, and women who resist their evil intentions.

It is a party which deserves to go into the dustbin of history!

Republican Philosophy: Every Fetus Must Be Born, But No Right To Care For Preexisting Conditions, And No Basic Right To Health Care Itself!

The Republican Party is a total disgrace in 2017.

It has allowed itself to become the party of death, not the party of life.

While adopting the extreme right wing position of being totally anti abortion, and subjecting women to the whims of religious extremists, that every fetus must be born, now the GOP has fully adopted the concept that once a fetus is born, that there is no right to care for preexisting conditions, which nearly half of Americans have in their lifetime, and no basic right to health care itself.

The party that freed the slaves, promoted racial equality, and advocated protection of the environment, now has become the party of Christian extremists and hard line Southern Confederate views, repudiating the principles of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and many decent, principled office holders who were proud of the Republican traditions of the past 150 plus years.

Now, if you are not wealthy, to hell with your health, and if you die, such is life, and it most showed up when former one term Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, said he was not interested in having to pay more taxes to support the health care of an infant who had a need for heart surgery to survive.

What has happened to the concept of human decency, compassion, empathy, and concern for others?

What has happened to the idea that we all pay in through our taxes for the betterment of society, and if we do not end up getting back as much as we pay in, it means we have been fortunate enough not to need help from the government on the same scale as others?

What happened to the concept of religious values, whether Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or whatever, that we are our brother’s keeper?

The Republican Party will be condemned in history for the passage in the House of Representatives yesterday of this reprehensible “tax care for the wealthy” bill, and it will NOT make it through the US Senate.

It was disgusting to see the House Republicans, led by despicable Speaker Paul Ryan, rushing to the Trump White House to celebrate the loss of health care for 24 million Americans, which, were it to become law, would insure tens of thousands of Americans, at the least, will die because they are not wealthy!

The wealthy have more than enough advantages, and do NOT need another tax cut, as it was those under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush which have obliterated much of the middle class, and accelerated the fall of millions into poverty since 1981.

The odds are heavy now that the Democrats will win at least the minimum number of seats, 24, to regain the House of Representatives majority, and even if the US Senate is not regained, it will change the playing field in 2019-2020, including the likelihood of the impeachment of demagogue Donald Trump!

For any decent human being to be a Republican in 2017, shame on you, and one can believe in karma, that you will be repaid appropriately in the next stage of your existence after your death on earth!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito MUST Go!

Three members of the Supreme Court live in their own parallel world of the Founding Fathers and the Gilded Age and the 1920s, and refuse to consider modernization as a factor in their judicial judgments!

Antonin Scalia, appointed in 1986 by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas, appointed in 1991 by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito, appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush are a team of three, which has worked against gender equality,racial equality, fair treatment to immigrants, and gay rights, among other modern controversies.

Often, Chief Justice John Roberts joins them, and sometimes, but less often than Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy also joins to make a right wing five on the Court.

But Roberts and Kennedy have also taken stands with the four liberal justices on the Court lately–Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

It is time to demand that Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito adjust to modern times, or else leave the Court, and there is a dire need to have a constitutional amendment to limit the terms of all federal judges at all levels, to promote open mindedness and diversity, and allow for change after, at most 18-20 years!

50th Anniversary Of Civil Rights Act: Most Significant Law Since Social Security In 1935!

Today is a day to celebrate, as it is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of Lyndon B. Johnson, the most significant single law passed since Social Security under Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935!

The Civil Rights Act has had a massive impact on American society, just as the Social Security Act has had.

And yet, there are those who would love to repeal the Civil Rights Act, as well as those who would love to repeal the Social Security Act.

There are those who hate the idea that African Americans and others are treated equally under the law, and would wish for the return of Jim Crow segregation, just as there are those who hate the “welfare state” represented by the Social Security Act!

The battle for human dignity continues unabated, as the right wing will never give up trying to make America return to the Gilded Age mentality, before workers were given any rights; before immigrants started to have some respect; before women acquired equal rights to vote; before African Americans gained their right to racial equality; and now as gays and lesbians strive to gain total equality and freedom as much as straight people!

This is a moment to applaud Lyndon B. Johnson for the great deeds he accomplished in civil rights and voting rights, and at a time when the reactionary Supreme Court has started to backtrack on the Voting Rights Act, showing a true ignorance of history!

And finally, in the future, in 2060, the nation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of ObamaCare, the most significant single piece of legislation since the Civil Rights Act and the Social Security Act, and Barack Obama will be given the proper respect and admiration that he might never receive in his lifetime!

50th Anniversary Of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech And The March On Washington!

It is hard to believe that this weekend, and specifically next Wednesday, four days from now, marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington by a crowd estimated at a quarter of a million people, calling for racial equality and justice.

It was a peaceful march, with a crowd of people of all races, an historic moment on the way to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It was a time of the greatness of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther, King Jr, and his brilliant “I Have A Dream” speech, one of the few greatest speeches ever given by any American in our entire history!

It was a time of hope and optimism, before the tragedy of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr himself, as well as the tragic war in Vietnam, which took 58,000 lives!

It was a time of optimism and a sense of progress, and now, sadly, the same battles fought over race and voting rights haunts us, as the Supreme Court majority, created by Republican Presidents who represent a desire to move backwards on the subject of race, seem to believe that denial of voting rights and the issue of race no longer is of importance in America, when it continues to be a divisive matter that prevents the full development of justice and equality in this nation!

This is a sad time when the Republican Party, which in large measure supported the civil rights legislation of the mid 1960s, now has adopted the old Southern Democratic racist policies that the national Democratic Party repudiated fifty years ago, and the GOP seems unembarrassed that they have become the “poster boy” for racial prejudice and nativism!

So while we celebrate the anniversary, we are still having to fight the battles won, and then lost, due to the party that once boasted of Lincoln, TR, and Ike, and now boasts of despicable leaders who have no shame, including Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, et al, and their ilk!

150th Anniversary Of New York City Draft Riots: A Disgraceful Moment In NYC History!

150 years ago, starting on July 13 and raging until July 16, New York City saw the worst rioting that had ever occurred up to that time, in the third year of the Civil War, due to the passing of a draft law by the US government, requiring the first ever military draft for all able boded men, unless they were wealthy enough to pay the government $300 to avoid service.

The Irish immigrants in New York City, among the poorest of all ethnic groups in the city, who could not afford the $300 fee, rioted and burned and destroyed, and sadly, set about to kill and lynch African Americans living in the city, blaming them for the Civil War.

At least eleven black men were lynched, but estimates go much higher, and the total loss of life is estimated as being at least 120 but potentially more, with at least 100 blacks being murdered in total.

At least 2,000 people were wounded, and possibly more, and property damage would be estimated in modern terms as at least $75 million. The film GANGS OF NEW YORK portrayed these events in a very dramatic way, and estimated much higher numbers of killed and wounded, and even higher property damage.

Blacks were forced to leave their residences by their landlords, afraid of bloodshed and property damage, and many left the city forever, and never returned, relocating elsewhere!

This was a horrible example of racial violence that has stained the history of New York City, and now, at the 150th anniversary of these terrible events, it becomes clear that racial harmony, racial justice, racial equality has NOT made as much progress as one would like to believe!

Condolences To The Family Of Trayvon Martin: Racial Justice Has A Long Road To Travel!

The decision of the jury in the George Zimmerman Trial in Sanford, Florida, finding him not guilty in the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, is a tragedy of major proportions, and my condolences to the family of Martin, who will not see racial justice in his death!

There is no question that racial profiling was part of the mindset of George Zimmerman, and that IF Trayvon Martin had been white, this tragedy would not have happened!

So as this author said just yesterday, any young black male from age 14 to 35 is an endangered species, and any one who has a racist intent can feel free to shoot and kill such a person and claim self defense!

So it means that every black parent has to live in constant fear of the demise of their sons because we have a crazy system which allows the use of firearms by people who should not have such firearms, and with the recognition that fifty years after the March on Washington, racial justice still has a long road to travel!

Just because we have a black President does not mean that the fight for racial justice, racial equality, and equal treatment under the law has been won, far from it! It is clear that battle will continue long into the future, but this is not the time to despair, but instead to regroup and organize for the struggle ahead for all decent people in this nation!

58th Anniversary Of Brown V. Board Of Education Case: Most Powerful Decision Of Supreme Court In 20th Century!

Today marks the 58th anniversary of the unanimous Supreme Court decision, Brown V. Board Of Education, mandating the end of public school segregation of the races.

No decision of the Supreme Court in the 20th century has had the impact and longevity that the Brown case brought the nation.

This nation is vastly different as a result of this case, which was brought about by the leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren, and the courageous battle in the courts by future Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, who argued the case for seven year old Linda Brown of Topeka, Kansas.

Many African Americans have benefited from the decision, and a growing middle class has emerged, but even now there are many black children who are denied equal access and facilities, and attempts in many states to resegregate public schools has become a growing problem.

So the battle for civil rights continues, a never ending struggle, since there are always evil forces who wish to set back progress, and deny access to equal educational opportunities in the states and counties of the nation.